About elizabethmartel

retired teacher traditional rug hooker

Sky Style

I’ve finally finished the roadside and pavement of my Prairie Sky piece, (after making a number of colour changes and adjustments to the hooking style). I ended up using a variety of materials….3 different plaids, wool yarn and two different colours of sari silk. DSCN1569Now to turn my full attention to the sky.

I’d tried some areas and ripped most out. I needed to make a decision about how I was actually going to hook it as well , of course, as the colour choices.

My initial colour selection was this: blues I dug out of my stash.DSCN1533….but as I  experimented, I didn’t like the effect of the very dark blues at all. I needed more pale shades. DSCN1535I took this photo awhile ago and I’m not sure why there are only two pieces since I actually dyed four light shades these being the lightest and darkest.

I wanted the clouds to be highlighted, and so I’m using a variety of white wool yarns plus Dorr natural wool .DSCN1551My biggest dilemma was this…….would I hook the sky straight across (bottom right sky sample) or wavy and directional (cloud beginnings). I thought about this for a number of weeks while completing the bottom roadside section. The answer I came up with? Do both. I’ll make the clouds contour the actual shapes and the sky will be pretty well straight lines.  Every time I go through this sort of process, I think afterwards….that is so OBVIOUS! why did it take me so long to figure it out?  So I’m on my way…DSCN1567I knew I would need to dye more pale blue shades and yesterday was the day.

DSCN1563I now have  a wide variety of blue shades to use in finishing my sky.

Many thanks to Lucy Richard  of The Wooly Mason Jar. I recently watched her video about how to dye 1/2 yard of wool  using her amazing colour wheel system of dyeing. I’ve never tried her system,  but I picked up a number of hints from the video which were really helpful. …some hints about micro wave dyeing eg. timing and when she adds the mordent, and using Woolite as a rinse at the end.  Hookers are such a diverse community and we can learn so much from each other. Thanks for the tips Lucy.

Whew! the humidex is to be nearly 40 C today, so for me it’s a stay inside, stay cool, and hook day. Hope you have a good day too

Thanks for stopping by.

Fixing the Grain Field

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Initially I was pleased with the way the field turned out, but that didn’t last long. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the entire colour was wrong….too orange. The deciding blow came when I took it outside on my way to the wool shop and realized that in the natural light, the oranges didn’t even match! I would never be happy with it so……DSCN1546

….out it came. My plan was to dye wool in an appropriate yellow, and I even had the wool soaking and had searched through my dyes and colour charts for the best option.

As luck would have it, my granddaughter came for a visit. She had tried hooking on several other visits, and first decided she liked hooking with yarn, and then discovered the punch needle. ….a perfect fit for her. While here, she received a wonderful package of an entire set of Amy Oxford punches. What a treat! I think I was as excited about them as she was. We headed off to Coldwater for a day out which would include a visit to “The Purple Sock” and looking for wonderful wool for her to try with her new punches. Amongst the beautiful yarn, was a basket of sari silk twists, and I came home with this beautiful yellow to use for my grain field.DSCN1547

Once it was wound into a ball, Akuma and Akira inspected it and approved. I split the strips and cut off the shreddings  and got to work.This was the rough version….DSCN1548

 

….which I tweaked by adding bits to the voids.DSCN1551

 

I really like the sheen of the sari silk, as if the light it catching it.

Now to have fun trying to create a prairie sky. I’m using wool strips and a variety of yarns. Not sure how it will turn out, but I’m having fun experimenting with it.

On a somber personal note…my heart is heavy today. We said goodbye to our  beloved Standard Schnauzer Baxter yesterday. He was 16 1/2 years old and had had a wonderful life, giving us years of laughter, loyalty and mischief. He was our constant companion, snow ball hunter, and eavesdropper to every conversation.  I awoke this morning to find his buddy Akuma sitting forlornly beside his empty bed. The house is silent today without him and my tears are still frequent.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

A Change is as Good as a Rest

I’ve been working on The Virgins for quite some time, and suddenly got sick of hooking that wall. In fact   I found I didn’t  like any of it anymore. Time for a break.DSCN1524Fortunately just about this time, my daughter-in-law took a photo of the Saskatchewan prairie sky .IMG_1928

As an Ontario girl, I’m always so impressed with that amazing expanse of prairie land and sky. I immediately wanted to hook it. A perfect foil to the intricate detail of The Virgins.

With Heather’s blessing  and permission to use her photo, I packed up all the accoutrements of The Virgins piece and set about on a new venture. I rummaged through my stash, and came up with this as a starter…some rug warp, some wool, some yarn, some sari silk.DSCN1533…and set to work on the stubble field…DSCN1534 2DSCN1536

I realized the blues I have on hand will have to be supplmented, and set about dyeing some lighter shades.

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Still not sure about this…so while watching the Women’s World’s curling on the weekend…I switched to the ‘weed verge’ closer to the road.DSCN1539I’m really enjoying hooking this…just the change of pace I needed.

I’ll be back to The Virgins….later…when I love them once again.

In the meantime..

Thanks for stopping by.

Learning as I Go

When I began The Virgins, my excitement and interest was in hooking the figures themselves. I gave very little thought to the background, with only a  variety of hazy ideas as possibilities. DSCN1466

Of course I ended up settling on having the women stand in an arch (see previous posts for details of the decision) and true to my nature, forged blissfully ahead, trusting I could eventually figure out how to do it.

I am very much a visual learner, so there is a lot of trial and error in my hooking. Creating the arch and wall has really been a prime example of that. My last post dealt with figuring out the colours and style of hooking for it and last week I was pulled up short when I realized I had completely overlooked the need for an inside corner where the arch meets the wall. DSCN1498

This meant searching out and looking at the perspective and the angles required for an inside corner,. This was  followed by some loop removal and redrawing of stones. DSCN1507Oops…that corner needs to extend further….DSCN1508

…better, but still not right. That shadow needs to follow the curve of the arch right down. I just realized now as I was writing this and looking at the photo…..that I may have to redo all the stones above the arch as well so that the whole thing doesn’t fall on their heads! (I’m learning some facts about masonry as I go!) Then I’ll have to reverse the whole thing for the other side.

….and I thought doing the figures would be the hard part!

Thanks for stopping by.

PS…after conferring with my resident building expert…I learned that the arch is safe. It gets its strength from the pressure of the walls pressing in from the sides. Whew!…no crushed virgins!

Building That Wall

It seems Trump isn’t the only one having trouble building a wall. Figuring out how I wanted to hook the walls and arch in my ‘Two Virgins’ piece stopped my progress for a few weeks.

From past experience, I know that I have to see something before I’m sure it works for me. My minds eye certainly isn’t always reliable. This time it took several tries to capture the effect I wanted, and I had to accept several compromises  along the way.DSCN1469…two cuts and styles tried here and an attempt to catch the corner highlight……nope!DSCN1473….a 6 cut and straight lines…..nope!  ….but I liked the effect of the cornerDSCN1496 2….a 6 cut, straight lines and a much lighter wool (thinking of marble at this point)….then tried the arch in a 3 cut and a variety of mixed , darker colours.

At this point, I shared my dilemma with my friend Jean who liked  the arch  best…(as did I)  so on to further experiment with wall options….now using a 3 cut and antigodlin hooking.DSCN1498.Hummmm I like the left, the right is too light.

whew!

…so all the attempts came out and I’m finally on my way with the wall and arch.DSCN1503It’s a large area, and a small cut, so I think I’m set with enough hooking to keep myself busy while watching the olympics next month.

I sometimes get frustrated and think ‘will I ever  come up with the effect I want’, but its so exciting when I finally can look at my work and say “Yes! That’s what I was after.”

The compromises I mentioned…..1.) now a lighter sky colour to figure out

2.) lots more work using a 3cut rather than a 6 and antigodlin hooking rather than straight lines.

…….both incidental since I’m pleased with the effect.

If at first you don’t succeed…..

Thanks for stopping by

Virgins’ Faces

Last week was a very big week if you are a curling fan. The Roar of the Rings Tournament decided on the teams to represent Canada in February’s Winter Olympics. Needless to say, I was glued to the TV, and particularly on Sunday while the finals were on. To help ease the tension, I hooked while I watched and by the end of the day, I had completed the faces of both virgins.

 

The wise virgin…..DSCN1453

….and the foolish virginDSCN1457

I know she looks like she has a milk moustache….(just cover-up to be removed later) hiding some mistakes I made in the original pattern drawing. I wanted to see what the profile actually looked like.

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I was pleased and surprised with how they turned out…..my first attempt at such tiny detailed faces. (done in #2 and #3).

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Some notes to myself in case I want to do this again sometime.

1.) all done in various shades of two basic colours….yellow and pink

2.)all done with bits and scraps from my stash

3.) pre-cut strips which were too wide, I carefully recut to #2 and it worked well

4.) followed the basic procedures taught to me by Anne Boissinot for eyes, nose and mouth

5.) I followed the face and neck value choices and placement taught to me by Wendie Scott Davis

6.) I remembered a recent discussion on cheek shadowing by Gail Mueller and Cheri Hempseed, and followed that advice. Thanks to all these ladies for sharing their expertise.

N.B. I must never forget that my work is the result of applying the information passed on by the skilled people I have been privileged to work with.  (I know…it should be “with whom I have been privileged to work”….but that sounds so formal)

Just hands and lamps now to hook before I tackle the arch and background. I’m still struggling with design and colour choices for that. I think it will require several “test” areas to see which I think will be best. The primary dilemma is whether to go dark or light.

So the faces are done and the curling is over. I’m happy with the faces, and although my favourites didn’t win the curling, I’m really happy with the teams that will represent Canada, I’m sure they will do us proud. Go Homan and Koe.

All in all a great Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Revisions and Background decisions

Have you ever noticed something in your work that you didn’t like, and suddenly that’s all that you can see? Well that’s what happened to me with my wise virgin. I noticed that her breasts were decidedly lopsided. DSCN1422The poor girl needed radical surgery, and for my peace of mind, she needed it at once.DSCN1423

Lots of fiddling about  was needed. It’s surprising how much is involved to move that small section down a bit,  but finally she looks much better.

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The other area of struggle has been the centre of the left side of her skirt (my left).  She’s holding it back, but it just looks like a mish mash. I reduced the light section to see if that helped….DSCN1435….and it does, especially when viewed from a distance, but I’m still not satisfied with it. It will get makeover later when I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.

I love the wild head of hair on this lady , and wanted to do it justice. My first choice of colours was too drab and bah, …..DSCN1442 2so I dug in my bits and pieces for something to give it more pizazz., and I came up with thisDSCN1443

I like how just the hints of orange and pink bring her hair to life…DSCN1440DSCN1439 In the meantime, the background  has been on my mind. I had several ideas, including being on a path with a misty background, a medieval castle in the background, doing a total disconnect with an abstract background of some sort…or?…. Then for some reason, I thought of having them stand in an arch, and immediately went in search of ideas for an “arch to suit”.  These three caught my eye…..DSCN1445DSCN1444DSCN1446

To find out how it might look, I cut out pictures of two left over virgins (not the ones I chose to use) ….DSCN1447….then posed them in front of the arches…..Arch number two I eliminated right away. Down to this one….DSCN1419…..or this one….DSCN1420……and the winner is this last one.  I like the stone blocks, and the greenery hanging down.

I have no intention of doing anything more than use the basic ideas and shapes, (I think the car would really spoil the effect don’t you?)    The potential sky colour is another problem  to solve  in the future, but I am having so much fun with this. Gee I love rug hooking!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Virgin Update

…..A little update on this piece….Progress is slow with using just a #2 and #3. …(and not really knowing what I’m doing…so several pull outs along the way)DSCN1415

  1. …did some over dyeing on a piece that was too blue. ….added some Mallard green DSCN1407 ….and even got to hang it outside to dry……(nearly November when this was taken…and the hanging basket is still in bloom)DSCN1410

2. Then snuggled up in my little “hooking corner”….with my usual “hooking clutter”

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and now ….I’ve gotten this far…..DSCN1415

Oh yes….and I’m considering the background. At this point I’m thinking of having them stand in front of a medieval arch….downloaded some examples….and have lots of sketching and making cutouts to see if I can make it work.

Lots of rain in the forecast for us….so indoors and hooking seems like a good idea. (November is my least favourite month).

Thanks for stopping by.

Compromise

In my last post, I was all set to forge ahead with the second virgin’s dress using turquoise and cantaloupe. I wasn’t sure if it would work….DSCN1391 I hooked just a small amount and wasn’t happy with it. I felt that it not only had no connection with the rest of the piece, but it was too bright and dominated far too much.

On the other hand….if I continued, it would be surrounded by lots of turquoise, which might well tone it down . DSCN1387I thought about another option….If I used a pink, it would tie the two costumes together and make the whole thing more harmonious.DSCN1386

I considered these two options for several days. The first was more disconnected than I wanted, the second more harmonious than I wanted.

Eventually I came up with a compromise. I overdyed the pinks with prochem raspberry, which kept the “pink idea” but changed the colour and shade from the one used in the first dress.DSCN1399

Still lots of dyeing to do and the dress details need to be refined, but I think I’m pleased with this compromise colour solution.

Now if I could just take a photo that was in focus,…. (I never seem to notice until it’s up on the computer and too late to get another shot).

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my “fuzzy” hooking.

 

 

Learning Through Doing

For me, I like every every project I do to present me with a learning experience and a challenge.   Ultimately if I am successful…(at least in my eyes), I derive a great sense of satisfaction in achieving what I set out to do.DSCN1373

To that end, creating the detailed clothing on the two virgins is a new experience for me, and as usual, some of what I tried , I liked, and some….nope…not at all!  I tried two different approaches on the foolish virgin. For the green portion of the dress, I began with dip dyes (I could have used swatches, but dip dyeing is much easier for me to do). I then cut them into several sections giving me a range from dark to light.  I ripped out that effort since there wasn’t enough variation  to be effective.  I then rehooked it using some much darker green, and a much lighter one (almost yellow) to create the highlights and folds, and was then more pleased with the results. DSCN1385The extremes I used very sparingly, but they made all the difference.

I tried a totally different colour approach for the fuchsia portion of the gown. DSCN1376I did a spot dye using  Majic Carpet red violet, and Primary Fusion #12  (which uses Pro Chem magenta, blue, and black). Then I went through my stash and found all the bits and pieces that went with that. I had a good range of values, though not necessarily matching exactly  in hue. The primary colour is the dip dye and I really like the highlights that it creates in the dress.

My pattern is taken from a 1500’s etching, (with no colour) and the next thing I learned, was that all the lines in the etching don’t necessarily translate well when using colour. I started the fuchsia section of the gown by outlining the lines in the etching in a dark value, and soon realized that many of them made no sense to me and looked ridiculous. I eliminated the vast majority, and went mostly by my own idea of where there might be folds and shadows. There is still one line on the floor section of the train that I will remove, and use a bit lighter colour the fill in that area (and I won’t use a straight line).DSCN1374

So with that bit of experience under my belt, I’m ready now to tackle the gown of the wise virgin. I’ve got two colours ready to go….a spot dye using Pro Chem seabreeze and mallard green, DSCN1382 (I  did 3 versions from dark to light), plus a couple of pieces that I had that went with that.  (for some reason the camera bled the green out of the far blue….it actually goes with the rest much better than this photo shows) The second colour is primarily a cantaloupe and mustard spot dye  done over both natural and oatmeal. DSCN1379I have no idea if this will work, but I’m set to try.

The other thing I’ve learned is that I’m either a lousy photographer, or have a lousy camera when it comes to colour (or maybe both).

Thanks so much for stopping by.